Rugby hardman turns water boy for golf pros

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A Southland rugby great will become a golfing water boy at this month’s NZ Open.

Former All Black and current Southland manager Leicester Rutledge will volunteer his time to help out with the January 28-31 event at The Hills by delivering bottles of water to competitors on the course.

He’ll be joined by mate Noel Boniface, husband of national title holder Robyn – a judge during the Open. It’ll be the third time Rutledge, who plays off a handicap of 16, has helped at the NZ Open.

“Each team has a chillybin full of water so we just make sure the chillybins are stocked up for them.

“It was a choice job, we thought, because we’d get around the course and see all the golf and move around a bit. We have a golf cart so you don’t have to walk too far,” he laughs.

“It’s just to help out. They like their water.”

The pair will work with four others to cover the 18-hole course.

“We’re there early in the morning to do the stock-up before the golf starts and at nights we’ve got to go round and pick everything up so they’re pretty big days, probably 12-hour days,” he says.

Rutledge, who owns a holiday home in Queenstown, is no stranger to throwing his weight behind sport.

He’s been actively involved in supporting cycling’s Tour of Southland for about 15 years and when the Stags won the Ranfurly Shield from Canterbury last October he brought the Log o’ Wood along for the ride in his judge’s van.

“We basically like helping Southland sport.”